Project Photo Gallery: Iona Shore

Setting a palette knife as part of January’s project has produced some beautiful results, reminding me to use one more often. Take a look and enjoy!

By Erika: A friend of mine is in Scotland right now. To get any cell phone coverage, he has to go to the beach every morning. “Will my cell phone work here?” is the title of this painting. Lots of fun playing with spatulas, knives and thick paint/medium. I feel, the rocks coming in from the upper right hand side should be a bit softer.

From Marion: I find myself looking closer and closer at the use of transparent colours in the rock, the darks contrasing with the transparent lighter areas with their sense of texture and depth. Agree about the rocks in the upper right; a glaze with some very dilute titanium white would help knock them back a bit.
By Asiff: “This is my first attempt with palette knife and I purchased my first knife for this project. The entire painting was done using it. Even though I struggled to use this tool, I am happy about the output and fully enjoyed the process. Thanks a lot for this project.”

From Marion: It’s clearly a tool that works for you! You’ve used it beautifully to convey the sense of movement in the water, the angular rocks, the softness of the sand and clouds. I would never have guess you’d not used one before.
By Cathi: My first attempt I am very pleased with; I do feel my painting is beginning to take shape!

From Marion: I think it’s very much one to be pleased about. The composition pulls the eye both across and into the distance; the mark making is visually intriguing and pulls me in for a closer look; the cloudy sky is an area of calm that contrasts with just enough going on to entice me to look closer. The two figures give everthing a sense of scale, and even though they’re so minimalise there’s a sense of being buffered by the wind.
By Cathi: My second attempt was for something more abstract. I chopped some of the rocks off the right-hand side, but still think the rocks need a bit more work, they look too much like fingers at the moment.

From Marion: I agree, the rocks are too elongated. I see them like octopus arms. I’d be tempted to crop off even more from the right, and if you think this makes too tall a painting, some of the sky could be cropped off too.

I like the abstract mark making in the sea, the mixing of colours; the direction of the marks gives a lovely sense of depth, and then crashes into the angular rocks in the foreground. I do find myself looking at the sky and feel there’s a sense of sideways movement, of wind moving the clouds particularly top left, which would then mean there’s be a sideways movement on the sea, so I might soften that.
By Bee: “My attempt in oils using a knife, not sure that I like using knives.”

From Marion: You may not be sure about it Bee, but I certainly like your results! The texture, angularity which suits the subject, intriguing colour mixtures … it keeps revealing the more I look. What you may well find is that a combination of knife and brush works better for you, rather than pure knife painting.
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By Eddie: ” I did this after watching Marion’s demo. It must have taken longer than I thought since the tide appears to have come in while I was painting.”
By Eddie: ” This was initially a panorama but ended up a picture of two halves. Marion suggested a crop and a few other tweaks which I have incorporated.”

From Marion: I think you’ve taken my suggestions and done just what the painting needed, though you might still straighten the sea horizon line with a confident stroke from edge to edge or using some masking tape.
By Eddie: “Doing two smallish paintings gave me the confidence to go larger so this is 24×20”. I used oil since the working time is much longer although it tends to blend whether you want it to or not. Drawing was confined to a horizon line and a vague indication of the rock area. I used a brush for the sky to make it recede but all the rest was by palette knife.”

From Marion: I think you’re really getting a feeling for doing rocks this way, the “complicated mixing” of colour on the painting itself combining with the directional mark making.
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I had several goes at this scene using a palette knife, and was reminded what fun it can be to use a knife and what range of mark making it offers, whether I’m working on paper or board/canvas. Particularly that squishy pattern created by putting a knife down flat and lifting it up (sure there’s some art-speak term for it!) as in the detail photo on the left below:

Iona Beach painting by Marion Boddy-Evans

A reminder: For US$10 a month project subscribers get access to exclusive extra material supporting the monthly painting project through posts my Patreon page, plus a short critique of your project painting(s) via email or in the community section of Patreon, and additional feedback if you rework a painting. Sign up here…

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